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Primary prevention is about making a difference for the future. It is about engaging in activities now that will stop violence against women and family violence for generations to come. It is therefore critical to be able to assess how we are progressing towards those outcomes. How successful are our activities? Are they creating change? These are questions that effective monitoring and evaluation can answer.
This monitoring, evaluation and learning (MEL) Toolkit (the Tooklit) helps you monitor and evaluate primary prevention projects, including those funded under the Victorian Government's Free from Violence Strategy. The Toolkit provides practical advice and has been designed to complement the Free from Violence Monitoring and Evaluation Strategic Framework [PDF]. It can be used to inform your own practice, or that of your organisation. It can also provide support if you commission an external evaluation.
This Toolkit references many complementary resources freely available on the web for primary prevention practitioners who might have an interest in building evaluative practice.
In particular, we would like to acknowledge the leading role of the Victorian Health Promotion Foundation (VicHealth) (i) in having produced an evaluation guide targeted specifically to primary prevention practitioners in Victoria in 2015.
Other valuable resources to support evaluation in primary prevention can be sourced from:
- Better Evaluation
- Our Watch
- Inner North West Collaborative Evaluation Project (INCEPT)
- Centre for Evaluation and Research Evidence (Department of Health)(ii)
- Australia’s National Research Organisation for Women’s Safety (ANROWS)
The content in this Toolkit will continue to evolve as we develop more resources or as circumstances change.
Who the Toolkit is for
The Toolkit is for:
- primary prevention practitioners and project managers hoping to improve their knowledge of MEL practice and those seeking resources for their own primary prevention work
- primary prevention Free from Violence fund managers
- people interested in monitoring and evaluative practice.
It does not replace the Free from Violence strategy or Victorian Government funding program requirements that you may be required to deliver.
We have written for a general audience, noting that primary prevention projects are delivered by a diverse range of organisations across the sector.
If you are delivering a primary prevention project, this guide provides:
- information about each step of the monitoring, evaluation and learning cycle with resources to help
- clear steps to undertaking key monitoring evaluation activities
- templates to help you plan and deliver your work.
If you are managing primary prevention project funding, this guide can:
- support your funding applications
- assist with reporting as part of your grant requirements
- offer tools for you to pass on to colleagues and project managers.
How to use the Toolkit
The Toolkit gives you basic advice and guidance for monitoring and evaluating primary prevention projects. The best monitoring and evaluation happens when project managers/teams plan at the start of a project.
We recommend working through the content sequentially, but you can dip into topics of interest as they arise.
You can also access templates and external resources that are flagged in the text where relevant.
We’ve also included a glossary that defines common terminology used in primary prevention and project management.
The monitoring and evaluation learning cycle
The Toolkit shares eight important steps for monitoring and evaluating primary prevention projects. We describe these steps in relation to four key stages of managing a project.
|Project cycle stages|
|Project delivery stage||
(Project design and planning)
(Project design and planning)
(Project delivery and project completion)
|Monitoring and evaluation steps||
Step 1: Outline your project purpose and have a plan
Step 2: Create a stakeholder map
Step 3: Develop a project logic
Step 4: Develop an evaluation plan
Step 5: Develop a data collection plan
Step 6: Collect and analyse data
Step 7: Interpret your results
|Step 8: Report and share findings|
Monitoring, evaluation and learning cycle
Tip – Make the Toolkit work for you
- This Toolkit can provide helpful advice, no matter what stage you are at in your project cycle
- Projects can be complex, with many moving parts. It’s okay to move between stages and steps.
- We suggest reading the information carefully so you can apply it to your own context.
Adapt the Toolkit for your context
This Toolkit is designed to encourage good practice. That means you should tailor our advice for your local circumstance because you know your community the best. Consider whether the guidance we provide will work for your context, or whether you need to adapt it.
Keep in mind that the Free from Violence strategy is about creating safer and more equitable communities. Any work we do – including evaluation – should minimise harm and build positive outcomes. For example, there are some elements of evaluation, such as ethics and seeking informed consent that are important for every project. However, the way you go about seeking consent might be different with each group.
Throughout this Toolkit, we use the word ‘project’ to refer to any initiative or activity you might be monitoring and evaluating.
(i) Victorian Health Promotion Foundation (2015) Evaluating Victorian projects for the primary prevention of violence against women: a concise guide. Victorian Health Promotion Foundation, Melbourne.
(ii) Centre for Evaluation and Research Evidence (2021) Monitoring and Evaluation Guide. State of Government of Victoria, Victoria.
(Please note: the Department of Families, Fairness and Housing (DFFH) is currently revising the Free from Violence Outcomes Framework (p.14) to include short- and medium-term outcomes, indicators, and measures. Once this is complete, we will provide a link to this document.)